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14th Mar 2024

This is why we should avoid wearing makeup when we exercise

Jody Coffey


I’m guilty of this every so often

After a full day of work, getting yourself to the gym or out for some exercise is a major win in itself.

If you’re similar to me, there will be days when you go straight from the office with makeup from the day, avoiding home in the fear you’ll get sucked into the couch and never leave.

What does it matter? Exercise is the best way to take care of your mind and body.

But, apparently, it’s not the best way to take care of your skin.

A new study has revealed that we really shouldn’t start our workouts before we remove all of our makeup — especially foundation.

To determine results, a drug-store-brand cream foundation was applied to the foreheads and under-eye areas of 43 university students.

They left the bottom halves of everyone’s faces makeup-free and had the students run for 20 minutes on a treadmill.

Credit: Getty


The results found that wearing makeup during exercise can block pores partially or completely.

“Because pores are important for evaporation, sweating, and getting rid of debris, makeup would negatively impact skin health,” says Sukho Lee, a professor at Texas A&M University-San Antonio and senior author of the study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology.

When our body heats up, one of the ways our body releases the heat is by expanding our pores.

Moisture and oil levels

Researchers used a device to scan the skin for moisture levels, oil amounts, and pore size and compared the parts of the face where foundation was applied against the parts where it wasn’t.

Moisture levels on the foundation side were higher than those on the bare side, which highlights the negative effect of the foundation.

“Moisture on the skin is evidence of poor evaporation, so a lot of moisture on the skin is not a good sign, since it should be evaporating,” Lee explains.

The results also stated that pores were smaller in the areas where makeup was worn, indicating that they were unable to open up and remove oil or regulate moisture.

Credit: Getty

Sebum levels

The levels of sebum oil were also increased on the makeup parts of the face when compared to the bare parts of the face.

Sebum is an indicator of the presence of debris, dirt, and bacteria buildup on the skin, which may all result in skin conditions like acne

Oil levels were lower on the makeup side, which Lee believes could be because the foundation was interfering with the skin’s ability to regulate oil levels.

Researchers hope to expand on the findings in the future through the use of more foundation consistencies.